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Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2003 Feb;14(1):1-4.

Tempting fate: BMP signals for cardiac morphogenesis.

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Department of Medicine, Center for Cardiovascular Development, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, Room 506D, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Heart muscle cell specification (cardiac myogenesis) and creating the four-chambered heart (cardiac morphogenesis) are subject to regulation, in certain model organisms, by bone morphogenetic proteins and their receptors. Extrapolation to mammals from organisms that develop outside the mother (flies, fish, frogs, and avians) has been confounded by very early lethality-at gastrulation-of many null alleles needed to prove cause-effect relations in this pathway. Here, we describe the use of lineage- or compartment-restricted null alleles as well as hypomorphic alleles, which circumvent these limitations and pinpoint novel essential functions for the bone morphogenetic protein cascade in mammalian cardiac development.

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